Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Saturday said that the vice-presidential bid of President Rodrigo Duterte means a nightmarish end to the opposition’s dream of getting back to power.
In his online program “Counterpoint,” Panelo added that the recent meeting of the members of Partido ng Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) sealed the candidacy of Duterte in next year’s elections.
“It will be wishful thinking on the part of the opposition. They cannot return to power, especially with the announcement of President Duterte. It’s game over, it will be a night marish end to the opposition’s dream of getting back to power,” Panelo said.
Panelo added that during the meeting with party stalwarts at Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang, Duterte directed the leaders to avoid too much promises to the people.
“What the President underscored is the need to address the plight of the poor and the sufferings of the people,” Panelo added, referring to the current economic crisis brought by the pandemic.
At the same time, Panelo dismissed the opposition’s claim questioning the legality of Duterte’s candidacy as vice president.
“We have the same position of retired Associate Justice (Antonio) Carpio that the 1987 Constitution is clear that if you are elected as President, you are ineligible for reelection, meaning you cannot run as President. It does not say if he runs as Vice President,” Panelo said.
“What the Constitution does not prohibit, it allows, that’s very clear,” he added.
According to Panelo, based on the sentiments of the people on the ground, majority supports the vice-presidential bid of Duterte.
“The opposition cannot do something about it as the President already said he is joining the vice-presidential race. Duterte has the political will, honesty, incorruptible leadership just like what he did in Davao City,” he noted.
At the same time, Panelo defended Senator Christopher “Bong” Go following the announcement of Duterte that he is available for the presidency.
“According to the President, if his allies want to ensure a continuity of the administration’s programs, they should look for a candidate who will not be involved in corruption and he particularly mentioned Senator Bong Go,” according to Panelo.
Panelo added that Go’s critics have been questioning his ability to run the country despite his track record in the Senate and as former close-in aide of Duterte.
“The critics are belittling Senator Go. Despite that, we can see that from a former aide of the President, he became a member of the Cabinet. Now that he is a senator, he is going around the country, providing much needed help to the people,” Panelo added.